Wood Flooring Inspectors are here to help

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Most wood flooring inspectors have been in the inspection business for 20 years, or more, and the majority began their career in the late 80’s and early 90’s inspecting carpet. Over time the vinyl floor industry began hiring flooring inspectors, and the mid-90’s brought laminate floors and laminate flooring claims.

Wood flooring came back into vogue in the early 2000’s with the popularity of engineered and solid factory (pre-finished) wood flooring. Having a factory finished floor installed meant the homeowner didn’t have to pack-up the family and leave the house for a few days-weeks for a wood floor to be installed, sanded and finished.

But with every type of flooring comes complaints-some justified, some not. That’s where an Independent Certified Wood Flooring Inspector comes in. Certified Wood Flooring Inspectors are commissioned to inspect floors because they have no financial interest in the installation. Their role is to understand the history of the claim, complete a investigation of the flooring, perform appropriate tests, analyze the data collected and submit a report based on facts and evidence collected.

Hardwood Flooring Inspectors are experts at what they do, and they spend a tremendous amount of time and money for advanced training and to maintain their certifications. A typical wood inspector certification requires industry experience,  a 5-8 day course, an exam and submission of reports for review before certification is awarded.

The most demanding, and educational certification was NOFMA-CP, National Oak Flooring Manufacturer’s Association  Certified Professional. NOFMA-CP was attended by hundreds, but completed only by few. Perhaps because it was not an easy program, the result end result is there are only 19 NOFMA-CP inspectors scattered around the country (US).  On average, it took each of these NOFMA-CP inspectors two years to obtain their certification.

NOFMA-CP training was by far the best wood training an inspector could hope for. But after many years as the only certifying oak manufacturer’s association, NOFMA consolidated with NWFA in 2008, and the NOFMA-CP program ended.

NWFA started inspector training in the early 2000’s. Fortunately, their inspector program was in place  and they continue to train, certify, and provide continuing education to Certified Wood Flooring Inspectors. However, NWFA has changed the rules and will now only certify wood flooring installers who have several years of wood installation, sanding and finishing experience. Experienced flooring inspectors will no longer qualify for NWFACP Certification unless they have installation, sand and finishing experience.

The IICRC offers IICRC-WFLI, Wood Flooring and Laminate Inspector Certification. The course outline closely resembles that of NOFMA, where wood science, ANSI Standards and actual inspection procedures are taught. Before attending the WFLI course, one must attend IICRC Introduction to Substrate Subfloor Inspection (ISSI). Attendees must pass a test for both courses; the ISSI and WFLI. Upon receiving a passing grade for both exams,  10 reports must submitted and approved before final certification is awarded. IICRC requires 2 Continuing Eduction Credits (CEC’S), every two years.

IFCII and FCITS offer basic hard surface training courses. Classes are 5-days and include wood, laminate, ceramic tile, vinyl flooring and an exam.  Upon receiving a passing grade, a given number of reports are submitted; once approved, final certification is awarded. IFCII and FCITS require update training, once every two years.